Major League Baseball announced punishments for the Red Sox organization on Wednesday based on its investigation into illegal sign-stealing during the 2018 season. It almost seems farcical and I really don’t want to comment on it, but it’s baseball and news is scarce. It looks like a video technician was the mastermind and it really seems like Rob Manfred spent the bulk of the probe trying to find the least-likely scapegoat just to have someone to hang out to dry.
Manfred issued the following punishments:
-Watkins is suspended without pay for 2020 and will be prohibited from serving as a replay room operator through 2021.
-The Red Sox will forfeit their second-round pick in the 2020 draft.
Learn more here:https://t.co/IdgOnlRdKe
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) April 23, 2020
The Red Sox owners have apologized to the other 29 franchises, then they probably sat back with a couple of rounds of drinks, cigars, and laughs via their Zoom happy hour. Let’s get one thing straight: Boston still cheated and the punishment incurred, no matter how lenient, doesn’t mean they aren’t guilty. It just means baseball’s commissioner let them get away with it.
The odd thing is that the 15-page report filed by MLB was six pages longer than the one filed on the Astros. Further, if you count the “Apple-Watch incident,” this makes the Red Sox two-time offenders. I wonder how that video tech will be able to face his friends and family? J.T. Watson (he’s the tech) will be suspended for the remainder of the 2020 season, if one is played. Boston also lost a second-round pick in this year’s league draft and former manager Alex Cora was suspended for a year, but that’s for his participation in the Astros’ activities.
This era of major league baseball under the the semi-dutiful eye of Robert D. Manfred Jr. would actually be funny if it wasn’t so abysmal. It makes me wonder why we continue to tarnish the legends of Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa. Keeping those players in baseball’s version of purgatory while allowing Houston and Boston players to walk away unpunished is unconscionable.
Cubs News & Notes
- If there is one prospect that I hope has a bright future in the major leagues, it’s Max Bain, just because i love his name.
- NBC Sports Chicago ranked the 19 biggest Cubs killers of all-time. They neglected to include all the 4-A starting pitchers who have made Chicago’s lineup look they forgot how to hit, like John Brebbia and Heath Fillmyer.
- Jon Lester and Theo Epstein, easily the team’s biggest acquisitions in the last decade were both Boston imports (subscription to The Athletic required).
- Maybe some bright writer at CI can do a feature on just how much of the organization has ties to the Red Sox, including manager David Ross.
- Fergie Jenkins recalled the 1971 Opening Day duel with Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson where each starter went nine-plus innings in the Cubs 2-1 extra-innings win.
- The sim-Cubs took it on the chin yesterday as the Padres bombarded Chicago pitchers with four home runs in the 9-4 loss.
- The Strat-O-Matic Cubs moved to 16-8 on the season thanks to their 6-5 win at Wrigley Field. Ian Happ smacked a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the tenth to win the game after Craig Kimbrel blew a ninth-inning save opportunity.
- A shout-out to Happ for this quote, by the way: “I have respect for content creators who are constantly putting stuff out because it’s not easy to stay on top of.”
- Kimbrel was slated to do most of his spring training work toward the end of camp but will instead need to ramp up quickly whenever the regular season is able to begin.
Find Your Inner Hero
The first human trials of a potential Covid-19 vaccine get underway today at the University of Oxford. Scientists working on the vaccine say the injection they are developing has an 80% chance of success. More than 70 vaccines are in development around the world, but, alongside the US and China, the UK is one of the few involved in human trials.
Apropos of Nothing
I have a feeling that a sports-starved nation will help make tonight’s NFL Draft the most widely viewed non-game event in the history of the league. Do we even care that it’s going to be conducted from the homes of all of the league’s GMs? I don’t. I hope they show these guys drinking beer, farting, and name calling, just like the fantasy drafts I’ve participated in over the years. I’m not a Bears fan, but I see that once again they do not have a first round pick. Is that a league rule or something?
Odds & Sods
We live in a different world than we did in 1886.
MLB News & Notes
Cora issued a statement indicating he takes full responsibility for his role in the Astros’ scandal.
The league and players association were on the “two-yard line” for a deal to isolate the video replay rooms in baseball stadiums to deter cheating before the sport shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The four-man outfield could be baseball’s next big innovation. Why stop there? How about deploying eight simultaneous pitchers, forcing the batter to try to guess which one really has the baseball in his hand?
Negotiators for MiLB have raised some questions regarding the proposed plant to contract 40 minor league affiliates. The the discussions remain open, no further meetings are scheduled at this time.
If you’ve been following ESPN’s The Last Dance 10-part documentary series, I’m sure you’re aware that then-GM Jerry Krause was once a baseball scout for the White Sox. He also worked for the Mets and Yankees.
Here are five ways that MLB could make games played in empty stadiums more fun for television viewing fans.
Rangers fans in a nutshell. Slick move, though.
This young kid is still the biggest savage for giving a girl sitting behind him a decoy ball. 👏🏼 pic.twitter.com/BLX27zdK5Y
— Danny Vietti (@DannyVietti) April 23, 2020
They Said It
- “I am relieved that these MLB investigations are concluded and that Commissioner Manfred released his finding that I did not violate any MLB rules as a member of the Red Sox organization in 2018 or 2019. I am grateful for the Commissioner’s thoughtful and thorough investigation relating to my conduct as Red Sox manager. I also take full responsibility for the role I played, along with others, in the Astros’ violations of MLB rules in 2017. The collective conduct of the Astros organization in 2017 was unacceptable and I respect and accept the Commissioner’s discipline for my past actions.” – Alex Cora
Thursday Walk Up Song
This Train is Bound for Glory by Old Crow Medicine Show with Mumford & Sons – From the musical documentary The Big Easy Express, this may just be the kind of uplifting song we can all use a little bit right now.